Russian military pundit says 'time to open border' with North Korea
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Igor Korotchenko, speaking on Russia-1, the nation’s most-watched channel, claimed North Korean workers are “ready to work alongside” Russia in the conflict in Ukraine and that they should be “given the green light” to join in the war effort. In an escalatory tone common to Russian state media, the pundits joked about the importance of their relationship with both North Korea and China in fighting against the West, with Korotchenko adding that it was “time to open our border with North Korea and establish normal trade”, undermining in the process the “UN sanctions regime” on Kim Jong-un’s autocracy.
Korotchenko said: “And now back to the subject of the Donbas. There are reports that 100,000 North Korean volunteers are prepared to come and take part in the conflict.”
Another host then jokes: “North Korean volunteers, Igor Yurevich? That sounds like an oxymoron.”
Korotchenko added: “You know, maybe it is a joke. Maybe it is not. I don’t know. But North Korea has, politically at least, made its position clear.
“North Korean builders are ready to work alongside us to rebuild the cities Ukraine has destroyed in the Donbas, as well as Kherson, Zaporizhzhya, and other regions which are liberating and which remain to be liberated.
“Why should we be shy about accepting and making use of that help? By the way, North Korean builders work efficiently and well. They are resilient and undemanding. The most important thing is that they are motivated.
“We should not be shy of accepting that hand extended to us by Kim Jong-un. And anyway, it is time for Russia to leave the UN sanctions regime on North Korea. It’s time to open our border with them and establish normal trade.
“And if North Korean volunteers with their artillery systems, their wealth of experience in counter-battery warfare, and with their large-calibre multiple launch rocket systems manufactured in North Korea want to participate in the conflict, well let’s give the green light to their voluntary impulse!
“At the end of the day, we helped North Korea and if North Korea expresses such a desire to fulfill its international duty to fight against Ukrainian fascism, let’s let them.”
In further signs of the separation of Russia from the West, it announced today it has banned investors from so-called unfriendly countries from selling shares in key energy projects and banks until the end of the year.
Western countries and allies, including Japan, have piled financial restrictions on Russia since it sent troops into Ukraine in late February. Moscow has retaliated with obstacles for Western businesses and their allies leaving Russia, and in some cases seized their assets.
The decree, signed by President Vladimir Putin and published on Friday, immediately banned investors from countries that supported sanctions on Russia from selling their assets in production sharing agreements (PSA), banks, strategic entities, companies producing energy equipment, as well as in other projects, from oil and gas production to coal and nickel.
Putin could issue a special waiver in certain cases for the deals to go ahead, the decree said, and the government and the central bank should prepare a list of banks for the Kremlin’s approval. The decree mentioned no investors by name.
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Relations between Russia and the West took several more blows over the course of Friday both in Ukraine and in Syria, where Russia is backing the establishment against US-trained forces.
Russia’s defence ministry said on Friday that its air force had “destroyed” a group of US-trained opposition fighters in Syria on August 4.
Russian forces have helped Moscow’s ally, Syrian President Bashar al-Assad, to turn the tide against anti-government rebels, some of them backed by the United States or Turkey, in a civil war that has lasted over a decade.
In Ukraine, Russia’s defence ministry said that it destroyed two US-made M777 howitzers in the Zaporizhzhya region of Ukraine, Russian news agencies reported.
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